By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
Today's Q & A Session is with former football player Jamie Bice. Bice was recruited by Bill Arnsparger and played strong safety from 1985-1988 for the Tigers. He was a three-time academic All-SEC Conference safety and member of the 1986 and 1988 SEC Champion Tigers. After a solid LSU football career Jamie would work for the LSU athletic department and then went on to get a Law Degree from LSU in 1993 and is now a Judge in Lake Charles.
Q - What's your favorite TV Show?
Jamie - Cheers and Seinfeld, I really enjoy both of those and still laugh. But most of the time now I watch a lot of the History Channel or the Discovery Channel shows.
Q - What is your favorite Food?
Jamie - Fried white perch... I love to catch them and eat them..
Q - Who is your favorite pro athlete?
Jamie - Larry Bird
Q - Your favorite sports team?
Jamie - It's LSU. To me they are the premiere sports football team in college as well as in the other sports. It's just a great total package of athletics in the college arena. I'm also from South West Louisiana which has a big Texas influence so the Cowboys were a team that we followed when I was a kid with Roger Staubach. I loved the 49ers during the Bill Walsh/Joe Montana era. I liked the Patriots with Tom Brady. I enjoy watching the winners. I have always liked the Saints, being a Louisiana guy you got to like the Saints, and I do.
Q - Who is your favorite Music Artist?
Jamie - Clearly, without a doubt, The Beatles. They were the very best of the very best as far as a band. As far as an individual singer, the very best of the very best is Elvis Presley. Every body else is about eight touchdowns behind..
Q - What is your favorite Movie of all-time?
Jamie - I have several favorite movies. I guess the best way to break it down is by genre. My favorite drama would be The Godfather Part II. My favorite comedy would be Smokey and the Bandit. My favorite sports movie would probably be Slap Shot with Paul Newman. Favorite war movie would be either Patton or Saving Private Ryan. All of those are my favorites.
Q - Who is your favorite actor?
Jamie - I would have to say that my favorite actor is Cary Grant. He was tremendously talented in drama and comedy. Closely followed by Clint Eastwood, Steve McQueen, and John Wayne.
Q - I see you are from Lake Charles? Is that where you were born and raised?
Jamie - Yes, I was born and raised in Lake Charles, but my roots are from North Louisiana. My parents came from Haynesville, Louisiana, which is known as one of the football capitols of the State. My father was a really good player at Haynesville who played his college football at the University of Houston. He got a job in the sporting goods business in Lake Charles and never left. So I was born and raised there.
Q - When you were a little boy, what did you want to grow up to be?
Jamie - I just wanted to be successful. When it was football season I wanted to be a pro football star. Basketball season I wanted to be a pro basketball star. Baseball season, a baseball star. Whatever I was doing at the time I just wanted to be successful.
Q - Did you play multiple sports while attending LaGrange High School?
Jamie - At LaGrange I concentrated on football and track. Up until high school I played everything and really enjoyed it. I really loved playing basketball, but when I got to high school I knew the best shot I had at going to college on a athletic scholarship was going to be in football. So I concentrated on football and track.
Q - Can you tell us a little about your recruiting process?
Jamie - I started all four years I was at LaGrange. I starter my first game as a 14 year old freshman. I had some encouragement to attend some camps and started to get some visits early on in my high school career. I ended up taking five visits as a senior. I visited West Point because I wanted to see what the military had to offer. I visited Notre Dame, UCLA. then TCU, who was the Southwest Conference Champions at the time and then LSU.
Q - What made you chose LSU over the other school who recruited you?
Jamie - Well in all honesty LSU was always the front runner. I'm from Louisiana so I always thought it was important to represent your community and everyone in Lake Charles was pretty much LSU fans. I thought it was important to represent your state and obviously LSU Is The Big Show in Louisiana football. All the other places that I visited and all the other teams that were interested in me, I really do appreciate it. But there really was no question where I was going and It was a wonderful choice that I made all those years ago.
Q - Tell us about Bill Arnspager?
Jamie - I feel honored to have been recruited by LSU and even more honored with the opportunity to sign with LSU.
Coach Arnsbarger in my opinion may be the best pure coach ever to coach at LSU, certainly during modern times. There was one thing that you never had to game plan for when you played on a Coach Arnsparger team, and that was to be outcoached. There were teams that were bigger, there were teams that were faster, but there was never a team that was more prepared then a Bill Arnsparger coached team.
He was a great coach and he brought in great assistants who went on to fame and fortune in the NFL. Just look at some of the staff that he had. He just had tremendous coaches around him and he was a tremendous coach himself.
The year before he got to LSU, which was my junior year in high school, LSU did not win a single SEC game. The next season, he is the head coach and they win the SEC and go to the Sugar Bowl. That's worst to first. I don't know of any other coach in the SEC who has ever done that. He never lost to Alabama. In two out of the three years he coached, he won the SEC Title which is pretty unheard of.
As far as our relationship, he left after my sophomore season to become the athletic director at Florida. We always remained in touch. In fact, later in life, after I got out of law school we would talk once every four to six months. Usually it was a call that he initiated and he would start off usually asking me some legal question, but it was really just to talk. I always appreciated that he would call me his lawyer. For someone like me who always had wonderful and positive thoughts of him as a person and a coach, It's always made me feel good. I’m a big fan of Bill Arnsparger.
Q - After Coach Arnsparger decided to leave, LSU would hire Mike Archer. Can you tell us a little about him?
Jamie - Well the best that I can recall, Coach Arnsparger left and was going to Florida. There was some thought on who was going to get the job.
Ultimately Mike Archer, our defensive coordinator, got the job. He was a young dynamic coach, who was smart enough, even at a very young age, to keep a very talented coaching staff intact. His first two years at LSU, in 1987 we finished fourth in the nation, 10-1-1. Then in 1988, my senior year, we won the SEC and won some of the most significant games in LSU history.
He did really well, but was young and had some issues the year after I left. He was ultimately let go. But he was a good coach.
Q - Tell us about any of your favorite games or great moments when you were a LSU Tiger....
Jamie - It's so long ago. Games and special games you still remember parts of them but you're not as familiar as you were with them 10 to 20 years ago.
Let's talk about 1988 which was my senior year. It was a very good LSU team. It wasn't as talented as the teams from 1986 or 1987. It was a team that cared a lot about each other. It had very good players, some significant and great players. Some of the greatest players in LSU history.
It was a Up & Down Season that had some of the highest of the highs and some lowest of the lows. There's not just one important game that took place that season. There was actually a lot of important games and most of them we won.
Obviously we lost in the debacle at Ohio State when we were ahead by 13 points with a 1:48 left and got beat, so that was a low.
But the two high points that year were the Auburn game that we won 7 to 6 on the great Hodson to Fuller pass, known as the earthquake game. That happens to be the game that gets the most attention. But as a player, I think the Alabama game that took place in Tuscaloosa that year was a better game. We won that game 19-18. It was a game that went back and forth. We fell behind 15-0 but just kept clawing our way back and eventually won the game.
I had the opportunity to watch that game on YouTube the other day. It was funny, the sideline reporter back at that time was Pat O'Brien and he did a segment where he was talking to the Alabama doctors. One of the Alabama doctors said as one of the Crimson Tide players was coming off the field, said that he had never been in that physical of a game before.
That's the way I remember it on our side as well. It was a knock-down-drag-out SEC classic with us pulling it out 19-18. So we won the SEC in 1988 by beating Auburn and Alabama, 'The state of Alabama' by two points. I have a lot of satisfaction from those memories.
What really matters most to me now, and it kind of really did then, is to meet and play with some great players from all around the State and surrounding States. I remember just how lucky I was to play with great players and make some great friends on those teams. To me that's the most important memories that I have is the small things, friendships made with incredible players that I got to play with. You can't buy that.
That 1988 team again was not the most physically dominant team. It had a lot of role players, myself included. It had some superstars. It was just a good team. We won a lot of good games and I think the reason why we did was 1: Because we were use to winning, and 2: When things got tough we seemed to get better, with the exception of that Ohio State game.
I consider myself fortunate to be able to play and to be able to contribute during that four year period. I was very lucky. My four years at LSU we won the SEC twice. Honestly we should have won it all for years. In 1985 and in 1987 we were only a half a game out. In fact in 1987 with today's scenario there's no doubt we would have been in the playoff format with a chance to win the national championship. That 1987 team was a great team.
Q - When your playing time was done at LSU, did you look for an opportunity to play at the next level?
Jamie - No I didn't. I had a plan that I was going to play football as long as I could. I showed up at LSU with a bad back. I played my entire career with a bad back. I still have a bad back today. There was some physical limitations due to injuries.
I ended up doing Postgraduate School. Our athletic director Joe Dean was really really good to former players and always wanted us to succeed. He made it available for me to stay at LSU, live in a dorm, and work for the athletic department while I was going to law school. I really appreciate the opportunities that LSU has provided to me and that's why I try to give back.
Q - After finishing Law School I see you worked at a Law Firm and now you're a Judge?
Jamie - That's correct. I practiced law from 1993 until 2015 when I was elected Judge in Lake Charles City Court and I've been on the bench for five and a half years now. I enjoy that change in lifestyle and really enjoying being a Judge here.
Q - Is there anything that you would like to tell the LSU fans?
Jamie - I would just like to thank the LSU fans, I call them my LSU family because of the friends that I've made during my time there whether it was students or faculty. I tried to meet everyone that I could while I was there from the Chancellor of the University to the janitors in each department
I appreciated everyone as much as I could. I think LSU has a very unique fan base. A lot of those folks went to LSU so they are alumni. But LSU has something called ABC, and that’s 'Alumni By Choice'. It's really unique the way Louisianians come together for LSU. I appreciate those people very much.